Vermont Public Radio announced on Tuesday that Senator Bernie Sanders will announce his candidacy for president on Thursday. Sanders is closely identified as an independent but will run as a Democrat, leading to a showdown with expected Democrat nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Sanders will announce on Thursday and hold a kickoff campaign event in Vermont late May. Sanders is the son of a Polish-Jewish immigrant father and an American born mother. He currently holds the title as the longest-serving Independent member of Congress. Sanders reputation has been boosted by a 2010 filibuster speech on economic policy he delivered which was later turned into a book.
Sanders decided to run in the Democratic primary because of his interest in taking part in the primary debates, according to the Washington Post. If he ran as an independent, he would not have been a serious threat to the Clinton campaign in the primaries and caucuses. Sanders has been compared to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who continues to claim she is not running for president, which leads to Sanders potentionally ends up being the lead voice of the extreme left of the Democratic party, especially those who are not fully backing Hillary Clinton.
Sanders spoke with the Washington Post explaining his message would be focused “collapse of the middle class” and “income and wealth inequality,” which he called a “huge issue from a moral sense and a political sense.” Sanders has spent the last six months hinting at a run, while acknowledging the struggles facing his campaign. Sanders explained the reasons behind his difficult run which included money, name recognition, and organization. Sanders has aligned himself with the Liberty Union Party since the 1970s. The Progressive Democrats of America launched their Run Bernie Run campaign and gained thousands of signatures calling Sanders to run as a Democrat. The PDA has hosted house parties, distributed hats, bumper stickers and buttons.
Close allies of Sanders have announced that Tad Devine will be Sanders political adviser. Devine served on several campaigns including Al Gore, John F. Kerry and Michael Dukakis. Devine shared his support last year during an interview. “He is not only a longtime client but a friend,” Devine said in an interview last year. “I believe he could deliver an enormously powerful message that the country is waiting to hear right now and do it in a way that succeeds.” Last month’s CNN/ORC poll showed Clinton with 62% support and Sanders support only at 3%. Senator Sanders has become popular for his denouncing of big banks and the Wall Street elite. Sanders also faces a small challenge from former Republican Lincoln Chafee who announced his campaign this month but has failed to gain any steam.